T&D World Magazine
Eugene Water & Electric Board Enacts FlexNet Communication Network

Eugene Water & Electric Board Enacts FlexNet Communication Network

One network enables improved customer service through leak detection and outage management.

Oregon’s largest customer-owned utility, Eugene Water & Electric Board, will deploy Sensus technologies for its more than 154,000 water and electric customers. The solution, which includes the Sensus FlexNet communication network and Software as a Service (SaaS), empowers EWEB to improve customer service through both leak detection and outage management.

The Sensus FlexNet system is a long-range radio network that provides a scalable and reliable communications infrastructure that enables smart cities. The range of the point-to-multi-point network reduces the number of access points required to capture and transmit data. Public service providers using the FlexNet communication network can support multiple applications that increase operational efficiency and customer engagement. The large inventory of licensed spectrum ensures that customers have the bandwidth required to support future data requirements.

A longtime Sensus customer, EWEB will be able to better leverage customer data to monitor usage and notify customers at the onset of a water leak, saving water and money. In addition to leak detection, the outage management system will immediately alert the utility to any system-wide issue so electricity can be restored faster. The utility also will be able to offer future enhancements, such as automated start and stop of service, the ability of customers to monitor their own daily consumption and potential pricing options.

Sensus technologies will also help EWEB enhance its operational system efficiency and conserve resources. Because the system proactively alerts the utility of outages, it can reduce the number of customer calls and dispatch personnel required to address the situation, freeing EWEB employees to focus on the most important task—getting power back to customers.

SaaS provides all the benefits of a Sensus communications network by placing the RNI (regional network interface) in a private cloud-based solution. With software as a service, there is no need to invest in additional capital expenditures such as IT, additional office space or specialized resources.

The utility’s two-year upgrade will begin with remote monitoring, outage management, real-time consumption monitoring and leak detection. During phase two, EWEB will offer a pre-pay program for customers, which will enable customers to better monitor and control their usage.

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